A Little Fall Swag

It’s beginning to look a little like fall at Hathorn Hall (even though the green grass and temps in the 80s say otherwise!).

Hey, y’all! It’s fall or at least by the calendar it is *wink* Here in Northeast Tennessee it’s a bit on the warm side with grass that is still green (and in need of mowing), and trees that show little to no sign of putting on a fall foliage show. I must admit it’s disappointing because I’m ready to wear my sweaters and sip a PSL on my front porch.

I’ve tried to get in the spirit. A few days before the first day of fall, I bought a cute pillow with a bright, happy pumpkin on it. I went to the basement and found my wood pumpkins and put them out on the porch. I waited patiently for the temps to cool off, so I could get real pumpkins and mums from the downtown farmers market. All I got was disappointment.

Today, I was determined to get my fall happy pants on, and Mill Spring Makers Market was the very place to do so.

Up close look at the dried botanical swag I made at Mill Spring Makers Market

Christy Shivell with Shy Valley Plant Farm helped me create a beautiful fall swag for my front door. She had so many gorgeous dried botanicals to choose from. The colors, the textures, the smells…oh, my! The really awesome thing is all of the dried flowers and plants at the drop-in class were from Shy Valley Plant Farm. It took me about 45 minutes to make my swag, and it only cost $18!!! I’m wishing now I would have made two *sad face*

Shy Valley Plant Farm is a family-owned nursery growing nursery propagated wildflowers, herbs, and heirloom tomatoes. They also grow old-fashioned flowers and gourmet quality vegetable starts. All of their plants are produced by organic methods, and they are committed to preserving and promoting the biodiversity of the region’s native plant communities. For more info about Shy Valley, click here.

As soon as I got home, I put my fall swag on my door. The colors look amazing with the deep stain!

I had so much fun today not only creating, but also chatting with Christy and her daughter. Did I mention how much I’m loving the drop-in classes at Mill Spring Makers Market? In this crazy busy world, it’s so important for us to treat ourselves with some gather-connect-create time. And believe me, the world will continue to spin while we take a moment for ourselves!

For more info about upcoming classes at Mill Spring Makers Market, click here.

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as I added a little fall swag. Now, I’m really wishing for cooler temps, a wheelbarrow full of real pumpkins, and a truck bed full of mums.

ART TO GO kits by SassyHat are currently available ONLY at Mill Spring Makers Market. More info coming soon!

I’ve been busy in the studio creating new paintings with razor blades. WHAT?! Yep. Razor Blades. Because I love to be a little edgy and dangerous in my art *wink* p.s. There are a limited number of my smaller paintings available ONLY at Mill Spring Makers Market.

A little fall swag thanks to Christy with Shy Valley Plant Farm and Mill Spring Makers Market!


Art Is All Around Us + Using Art to Guide Understanding and Unity

Hey, y’all! Guess what time it is? Yep. It is time to grab a good cup of coffee (or tea) and sit a spell with me as we chat about the theme for my fall art classes and how my recent road trip inspired me to change the direction of my lesson plans and projects.

All set up for Open House at the McKinney Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

About a week ago, the little family and I went on a road trip–not the original vacation the hubby had planned–but one we all threw together at the last minute because we were determined to not let anything stop us from venturing out and having fun. See, the last time we went on vacation was 2005-to Disney. That year was the absolute worst. From Hurricane Katrina to my beloved father-in-law passing away, that year was ugly. Nothing like we had planned or expected. Now, we are not going to dwell on the past. We are going to embrace the present and work toward making the future better and brighter. Which brings me to our thrown-together road trip.

**Family selfie fail in Buffalo, New York** My arms were not long enough, and we do not own a selfie stick. Perhaps, I should ask Santa Baby for one.

Originally, we were going to go on a lighthouse tour–focusing on the areas from Baltimore to the Outer Banks. Ferry boat rides. Lighthouses. Beaches. But there was a power outage of sorts that spoiled the majority of our trip, so we decided instead of rerouting that planned trip–we would abandon it all together. It is just the way we are *wink* So, the hubby and I sat down and tossed around some ideas. Here is how we planned our new vacation:  (1) Our daughter will be graduating Spring 2018 from college, and she is interested in applying for jobs in several different cities.  One of those cities is Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. All I knew about this city is it is the capital of Pennsylvania. So, I texted Abby and asked her if she would be interested in going to Harrisburg for a couple of days. Explore the city. See where nice apartments are located. Where the news stations are. Visit a few tourist attractions. She said that would be awesome. First stop, check. (2) Where does one go from Harrisburg? Niagara Falls, of course! (3) Why not take a scenic drive from Buffalo to Erie, PA? (4) We are so close to Cleveland–let’s go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! (4) We agree to stop in Maryland on the way to Harrisburg–because why not. (5) We agree to stop at anything else that looks cool or interesting and to stop at the rest areas entering each state. We had no specific plans–but we knew we wanted to spend time together as a family–exploring America the Beautiful.

The first couple of days of our road trip we stayed in downtown Harrisburg. It is a gorgeous city with the most adorable public art. Now, I am not going to spoil all the rubber duck art pieces because I want y’all to plan a trip to this capital city and see for yourself.

The rubber ducks inspired me to change the total direction of my fall art classes. I realized while walking around downtown Harrisburg art is all around us, and I wanted to bring large-scale public art into my classes.

Painted fire hydrant in downtown Harrisburg. Love this so much!!

Downtown Harrisburg is filled with so much delightful art. Take a day or two and explore all of the art the city has to offer. **I am in no way affiliated with the City of Harrisburg or its Department of Tourism. I just love its artsy and welcoming vibe.**

My favorite painted “flower pot” in Harrisburg **I am seeing an art lesson!**

What a great way to brighten up any city or town!

A little starry night action happening on this container in Harrisburg, PA.

One last photo of the painted planters. Y’all will have to take a road trip to see the rest *wink*

Mural in Harrisburg. **At this point in our visit, my mind was racing with ideas for my fall art classes.**

Check out the reflection of the mural in the puddle! Wouldn’t it be awesome to have local artists paint public parking lots!

After a couple of days exploring Harrisburg, the little family and I headed to Niagara Falls via a scenic route where we saw quaint farms, wind farms, and homes decorated with patriotic bunting and American flags. It was a good-for-the-soul drive. Let’s fast forward to the day we spent in Buffalo, New York because I want to continue chatting about public art and how it inspired me to look at art and my art lessons differently.

Photos cannot capture the size nor the details of this public art piece in Buffalo. **If you have not explored Buffalo’s art and architecture, add Buffalo to your bucket list right now!**

Abby standing next to the Nancy Rubins sculpture in Buffalo.

Bright and whimsical art piece in Buffalo

This sculpture in Buffalo inspired an art lesson! My students will be “building” their own mini outdoor art using reclaimed blocks and paint.

Art that makes you happy and reminds you to embrace your inner child!

The solid color really makes the modern lines of this piece pop against the Greek-inspired building in the background. **I can identify with this because I feel like I am constantly out-of-place and standing out!!**

Love the primary colors and block shape. It just makes me smile.

As far as the eye can see. Absolutely amazing sculpture!!

This sculpture is gorgeous. Whimsical. Scary. Entrancing.

I must go back to Buffalo when I have more time because the art is…I have no words!

I was like a kid at a candy store in Buffalo. Just so much amazing art!

“Rusty” treasures have a special place in my art!

Last sculpture I will show y’all because I could go on for days chatting about all of the art in Buffalo…well, there will be a few more photos of murals after this *wink*

This summer road trip will always be special because it is the last one before my baby–my only baby–graduates from college and starts a new adventure. *deep breath–trying not to cry*

Mural in Buffalo on the corner of Perry and Mississippi. Yes, we went to Mississippi Street because we are originally from Mississippi. And look what we found when we got there!

Closer look. Take time and explore the details of this mural in Buffalo.

One last public art piece to show y’all! Honestly, it was a struggle narrowing down which pieces I wanted to put in this blog post. I decided to show my favorites and the ones that inspired my art lesson plans. Don’t y’all wish you lived close by so you could take my classes *wink*

Pour another cup of coffee and enjoy this mural. Take a look at the colors and the overall design. Let me know what you think in the comment section!

Don’t you just love public art! It livens up our cities and towns, adds color and beauty, and shows off the talent this wonderful country has. It is easy to get down these days about America and to complain about what is happening around us.

It is easy to march and riot and burn flags and carry torches and throw around hateful words. It is easy to cower and to be afraid. If you are like me, you may not know how to express how you feel in words or out loud or to express your views publicly–for a million reasons from fear of being hurt|bullied to not knowing how to handle differing opinions (when those opinions and views are coming from people who are much ‘better’ at verbally and physically expressing themselves).

Now, I may not be one to carry a sign in the streets and to go on Facebook rants, but I do believe I can use my creations and art lessons to help this country overcome its current state of animosity and hate + to help remind people how great America is (despite some bad apples and ugly parts of history). Why? Because art is the path to understanding and unity. Now, don’t go getting your panties in a bunch thinking that I am leaving morals and Jesus out of the solution. I am just saying that art is a way to express struggles, successes, fears, and so much more. Art is a way to bring people together–to discuss issues. Art is also a way to showcase what is good in this country.

Art is all around us–waiting to be spotted and discussed. Share your thoughts about “Art is all around us” and your ideas on how we can use art to bring unity.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren{All of us} to dwell together in unity!

Psalm 133:1

art inspires us to visit the concept of ‘unity’ and see ourselves as part of a bigger universe.

leni kae















Journeys of Women Art Show + We Are All Stories and Empty Nest

"We Are All Stories" an original mixed media on 36" x 36" canvas by SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn)

We Are All Stories an original mixed media on 36″ x 36″ canvas by SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn)

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from gluten-free goodness to home renovation projects. Today on the blog, we are chatting about the Journeys of Women Art Show taking place in Jonesborough, Tennessee at the McKinney Center from September 9-17. This exhibit is open to the public + the works are for sale with a portion of the sales going to the Women’s Fund of East Tennessee.  For more information about the show and how it helps to transform the lives of low-income women in East Tennessee, click here to read “Journeys of Women Art Show: For Women, by women” in the Johnson City Press.

It is such a blessing and an honor to be part of this amazing show, and I cannot even begin to express how excited I am to have my works in the same space with such incredibly talented artists.

"Empty Nest" an original mixed media on canvas by SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn) will be on exhibit at the Journeys of Women Art Show from September 9-17 at the McKinney Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

Empty Nest an original mixed media on canvas by SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn) will be on exhibit at the Journeys of Women Art Show from September 9-17 at the McKinney Center in Historic Jonesborough, Tennessee.

When I began painting Empty Nest, I was trying to deal with my only child getting ready to move away to Emory & Henry College in Virginia. To be honest, I had no intention of ever showing this painting because it was filled with all of my emotions…tears…chaos. As I painted, I thought about how we nurture our children so that one day they will fly…they will leave the nest. But, the nest is never really empty. If you look closely, there is an imprint of that egg…that will never go away because of all of the love…because of all of the wonderful memories. Yes, it is very hard to let them go…to let them fly, but it is part of the natural process + how wonderful it is to see them soar!

Another painting in the "We Are All Stories" series--an original series by SassyHat featuring red barns and quilts

This 12″ x 12″ mixed media on canvas by SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn) is part of the “We Are All Stories” series–an original series inspired by storytelling (especially Southern tales), red barns, quilts, and red barns with quilts.

“We are all stories in the end, so let’s make them good ones.” That statement pretty much sums up the We Are All Stories series and why I created it! I have always loved a good story. My blog was inspired by my love of porch sitting and storytelling + coffee drinking. So, I had no choice but to paint and create what I loved most. I wanted this series to be child-like…whimsical…a bit catawampus. I wanted it to be full of color…rich with texture…splashes of humor here and there. I wanted people to look at the red barn and remember a red barn they had seen as a kid or to remember playing in their grandparents’ barn…or remember when they worked at their parents’ barn…picking cotton or harvesting tobacco.  I wanted people to sit a spell and really look at these paintings…to read the words…to see the little details. My hope is they smile as they observe…that they will begin to tell a story about a barn or a quilt or their beloved grandmother.

Yes, as parents, we are all going to be empty nesters one day (that is our goal *wink*), and we are all  going to be stories in the end, so let’s make each and every moment count…let’s embrace each other…let’s take time to sit a spell and really talk and listen (that means putting down those phones, closing those laptops, and turning off the TV)…let’s make sure that our stories and our children’s stories are good ones *big smile*


Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today! I would love to hear your empty nest, barn, or quilt stories, so please feel free to share them with me in the comment section here or on Facebook because there is nothing better than good stories with great friends *smile*